Friday, December 01, 2023

On Ultra 10L Vest Review

Article by Jeff Valliere

On Ultra Vest 10L $179 (tested) and 5L $149

Sizes XXS - XL


Jeff V:  The On Ultra Vests in both 5L and 10L are legit, high quality entries into the performance ultra run/race vest market. They feature a lightweight design, well thought out pocket configurations, high quality build, secure fit and a water resistant detachable 5L dry pack on the 10L version. As far as  I can tell, the 5L and 10L vests are essentially the same aside from the 5L detachable dry pack.

Features/Materials/Pocketing system:

10L Specs 5L Specs

Jeff V:  The On Ultra vest has a well laid out pocketing system, consisting of one soft flask pocket on each of the front shoulder straps with large, deep stuff pockets over each of the flask pockets.  These pockets are large enough for a beanie, gloves, food or a phone.  

On the upper left shoulder strap is a zippered pocket, complete with a handy key clip (a very welcome addition, as I almost always run with my car key).  This pocket can also accommodate a few gels, or chapstick.  

On the right side is a small stuff pocket (no zipper) with a water resistant liner for salt tabs I presume.  On the back, we have 4 pockets, a deep stuff pocket closest to the back that can double as a bladder sleeve.  

On top of that is the detachable 5L water resistant pocket.  

On the lower lumbar region is a large-ish stuff pocket with an elastic cinch to keep a wind breaker contained.  On the outside of the lower lumbar pocket is a small zippered pocket that can fit a few gels or small items.  I am not all that flexible, so I have a tough time reaching anything out of the back pockets, though I can retrieve a windbreaker from the larger lower rear pocket.  There is also a stuff pocket on either side of the “hip belt”.  The materials vary from lightweight airy breathable mesh for breathability, to less stretchy materials to provide good fit/stability.  Overall the vest is comfortable, breathable and durable.

The front stuff pockets have plenty of room for a smartphone, hat, gloves, food, etc…

The Ultra Vest can carry slim race poles.

The vest is bladder compatible (not included).

Attention to detail: the key clip in the zippered pocket is a nice touch.

The lower rear stuff pocket with elastic cinch is perfect for keeping a windbreaker or the like handy.

On the right shoulder there is a small water resistant pocket for I assume pills/tablets

The detachable water resistant 5L bag has top anchor points and the lower ones are within the lower pocket.  The bag sort of floats, but is stable and great to keep items like a jacket or extra clothing dry ( with other vests I need to stuff things I want dry into a gallon ziplock).  I have not tested in the rain, but it is at least nicely sweatproof.  

Two 17oz/500 ml soft flasks are included.

More attention to detail, there are sewn in pads on the back of the shoulder straps to prevent rib discomfort from the soft flask caps.

The elastic chest straps are comfortable and easy to adjust, but take a little work to attach/detach (a bit futzy to operate when on the go and especially if fingers are cold).


Jeff V:  I am a shade under 5’10” and 145lbs with a 38.5” chest and went with a size Large.  Fit for me is perfect, with enough room to wear over a midlayer or windbreaker.  There is enough adjustability to accommodate when the pack is full and I am full, down to when the pack contents are less and I get skinny after a few hours of running.


Jeff V:  Overall I find performance to be excellent, as the vest has plenty of easy to access and well laid out pockets with plenty of capacity.  The vest is comfortable, high quality, breathable and carries intended sized loads with minimal bounce.  I appreciate the attention to detail, such as the key clip in the zippered pocket, water resistant removable 5L bag, smaller water resistant pockets for tablets and the like, as well as the padding to protect ribs from the flask caps.  Whether you are running ultras, spending a day in the mountains or just shorter day to day runs or races, the On Ultra Vest is a top pick.


Camelbak Zephyr Pro: Jeff V - Both are very functional and performance oriented.  I like that the Zephyr has two zippered front pockets, but the stuff pockets between the flask pocket and zippered pockets are tough to access when bottles are full.  The Zephyr also includes a pole quiver and the chest straps are easier to operate.

Salomon Sense Pro 10L: Jeff V - The Sense Pro 10L fits more like clothing and goes unnoticed for short runs and  while carrying a few essentials.  When loaded, it is not quite as stable under load as the On vest, but still works great for carrying a day's worth of essentials.

Salomon Adv Skin 5L: Jeff V - While just a 5L, the Adv Skin 5L feels like it has comparable capacity somehow.  The vest is still one of my favorites, as it is great for carrying a little or a moderate amount of gear  and is incredibly stable and comfortable.

Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 6.0 : Jeff V - a high quality vest, but I find the On to be more functional overall, with more easily accessible capacity and better attention to detail.

The On Ultra Vests are available at our partners

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Tester Profile
Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to ski (all forms) bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Jeff Valliere said...


Seet said...

Big question, how does it compare to the Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra 5 or 8 vests that are still very popular in competition?